In another study buttressing the belief that people tend to get dogs that match their personalities, British researchers say they concluded that disagreeable people prefer to own aggressive dogs.
The study, by a research team from the University of Leicester’s School of Psychology, was based on personality tests, filled out by participants.
Participating humans, we mean.
For the dogs, researchers seemed to mostly fall back on old stereotypes.
Researchers say they found that younger people and people with low levels of agreeableness were more likely to prefer dog breeds that were rated more aggressive. As examples of those breeds, they cited bull terriers or boxers.
Here’s where I’m going to have to be disagreeable. While I’m certain a trained psychologist with a clipboard and a questionnaire can confirm disagreeability in humans, I have my doubts about their labeling dogs aggressive, epecially if, as it seems, that is based entirely on perceptions, which are often misperceptions, about breeds.
Did the scientists actually meet any disagreeable people and their aggressive dogs? (Perhaps it was wisest not to.) Or did they just work from a checklist of allegedly aggressive dogs — Rottweilers? Akitas? Pit bulls? Dobermans. German shepherds?
I don’t dispute the conclusion the study reached; it seems somewhat obvious. I just question what they base the label of “aggressive” dog on. If it’s solely breed, and perceptions of breeds, that’s not science; it’s stereotyping.
And you’ve got to wonder too — assuming there is a connection between disagreeable people and aggressive dogs, whether dogs belonging to disagreeable people started out that way, or became aggressive while living disagreeable people?
Humans generally make dogs aggressive — sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally. An aggressive dog usually has a disagreeable human behind it. (Check out some of the comments we’ve received from supporters of dogfighting for proof of that.)
According to the scientists, disagreeable people are typically less concerned about others’ well-being and may be suspicious, unfriendly and competitive.
The study, published in the June edition of the journal Anthrozoos, found no link between liking an aggressive breed of dog and delinquent behavior, or that having an aggressive type of dog is a “status display,” lead researcher Vincent Egan said in a university news release:
“This type of study is important, as it shows assumptions are not the whole picture. It is assumed owners of aggressive dogs … or dogs perceived as aggressive … are antisocial show-offs.”
If one is relying on “dogs perceived as aggressive” to build their database, isn’t one making some assumptions oneself?
(Photos: We don’t think Rush Limbaugh has a dog, so we went on Google and picked him out a Chihuahua. No slur to Chihuahuas is intended)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, behavior, breeds, disagreeable, dog owners, dogs, humans, match, misperceptions, perceptions, personality, pets, pyschologists, reflect, research, study, university of leicester
A pit bull who helped show Baltimore the breed’s good side, inspired a blog and turned a young couple’s life around passed away at the end of last week.
Knox, only about 3, died from complications associated with a blood parasite for which he recently tested positive.
His final days, and his short but joyous life — at least since being adopted — are recounted on the blog Pittieful Love: Adventures in Fostering and Loving America’s Dog.
Knox was adopted by a young couple named Brian and Jess DeLeon in May 2010 from BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter), the same shelter Ace came from.
Upon his arrival at BARCS, he’d been given the name Oil Change, because he (and his brother, dubbed Dipstick) came to the shelter from a gas station, where they apparently were leading pretty neglected lives.
His adoption would turn that around, as well as life for Brian and Jess.
“We went from young 20-somethings who wanted to rescue a dog, to two completely devoted owners who also are now completely devoted to this breed (which we didn’t know jack about before) … We brought home a “Baltimore Mutt” (aka a pit-mix) and had no idea how much of an influence he would have on us, on the world he lives in, the streets he walks, and the people he’d meet. Not to mention the people whom he’d introduce us to.”
Knox was a regular participant in Pit Bulls on Parade, a series of weekend walks sponsored by B-more Dog, aimed at correcting public misconceptions about pit bulls. He was a friend and guide to the other fosters Brian and Jess took in, and a blood donor, as well. And he’d inspire the couple to fight for pit bulls city-wide, through their connections with B-More Dog, Mid-Atlantic Bully Buddies and BARCS.
Just before Christmas, Knox was diagnosed with the blood disorder, and, as Jess blogged, became a different dog — no longer as lively, or as willing to place his 68 pounds, at least half of that seemingly head, on your lap.
In her blog, Jess astutely reflects that, after the long fight, sometimes it’s best to let nature take its course — especially when the heroic efforts you’re making are, at their core, not for your dog but for yourself.
“It may sound horrible, but I refuse to string him along for no reason, not to mention waste thousands of dollars to keep him alive for my own personal benefit … Keeping him alive, barely…who is that serving? Certainly we love him too much to be that selfish … We love him way too much.
We extend our condolences to Jess and Brian, and encourage them to keep focusing not on the loss, or the void, but on the substantial contribution Knox made, and the joys — big and little – he provided, both to them and others.
Judging from yesterday’s Pittieful Love blog post, that’s exactly what they’re doing:
“You, sneaky boy, were wild. WILD. But you loved us right away, and we loved you. We met you at first in an escort room. Small, tight space, but we weren’t intimidated by your jumping, your tail, your huge head and that awesome smile. We wanted to take you outside to the run. You were in HEAVEN. And you loved to run! But you kept coming right back to us, and sitting on our feet. The fresh air, the open space, you loved it! But you loved us too. And that was a good sign to us. We couldn’t stop smiling.”
(Photo courtesy of Pittieful Love)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, ambassador, animals, b-more dog, baltimore animal rescue & care, barcs, blood, breeds, brian deleon, death, disorder, dogs, dying, foster, goodwill, grief, jess deleon, knox, loss, memories, misconceptions, misperceptions, mutts, oil change, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pit bulls on parade, pitbull, pitbulls, pits, pittieful love, rescue, shelter, stereotyping
This could get ugly, if it hasn’t already.
This week, a newly formed national organization called The Humane Society for Shelter Pets (HSSP) began making itself known, with full-page ads in national newspapers aimed at discouraging people from contributing to the Humane Society of the United States.
The new organization’s point: HSUS, despite public service ads that seem to indicate it helps dogs and cats in shelters, provides little direct funding to local shelters, which need help more than ever.
While polls show 71 percent of Americans believe HSUS is affiliated, represents or helps fund local humane societies, HSSP says “the reality is that just 1 percent of HSUS’s $126 million budget goes to needy hands-on pet shelters.”
“The Humane Society of the United States continues to fundraise on the perception that they give millions of dollars every year to local pet shelters with misleading advertising campaigns. Unfortunately for the dogs and cats in our local pet shelters, that is not the case,” said Diana Culp, HSSP co-director. (Culp is a former director of education for HSUS and former supervisor of animal control in Frederick County, Maryland.)
HSSP, while noting on its website that it doesn’t contribute directly to shelters, either, does provide a database enabling visitors to obtain all the information they need to donate to local shelters.
However philanthropic that may be, and whether or not you agree with HSSP that HSUS is misleading the public in its fundraising approach, HSSP may not be the angelic organization it makes itself out to be.
For one thing, it has ties to Richard Berman, who, through his Center for Consumer Freedom, has been a long-time, highly vocal critic of HSUS. Berman has raised millions from industries that, at least in the view of HSUS, are cruel and abusive to animals.
In response to the HSSP ads — they’ve appeared this week in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and New York Times – HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle fired back earlier this week.
On his blog, A Humane Nation, Pacelle, called Berman a “king of charity fraud,” and went so far as to show a photo of Berman’s mansion in McLean, Virginia.
“He sets up phony front groups to do the dirty work of bad actors in industry. He takes their money and then takes on their critics. He runs ‘charitable’ organizations, like the Center for Consumer Freedom (which fights The HSUS), the American Beverage Institute (which fights Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and the Center for Union Facts (which attacks public employees and unions), yet his groups don’t feed one animal, shelter one homeless person, or provide any other tangible social service.
“They are charitable organizations in name only, and Berman and his for-profit public relations company pocket a large share or even a majority of the total revenue. It’s a personal enrichment scam of the highest order, and he’s the architect of the con job. He’s got the mansion in McLean, Va., and the Bentley in the driveway as the spoils, with his accountant wife standing by to tally the profits.”
Pacelle said the HSUS has never presented itself as an umbrella agency that funds local shelters, and he points out that HSUS television ads include a small-print disclaimer: “Local humane societies are independent from HSUS.”
While the HSSP ad states that HSUS gave just 1 percent of the $131 million in donations it received last year to local shelters, Pacelle says that figure doesn’t include the campaigns HSUS has conducted nationally and globally to fight such things as puppy mills, dogfighting, animal cruelty laws and pet overpopulation.
Pacelle says about 20 percent of the Humane Society’s efforts involve companion animal issues, and that, in the last five years, HSUS has given more than $43 million in grants to other animal organizations.
Berman, while not listed as an official of HSSP, has been hired to do its public relations work and to help bring HSSP “to fruition,” said HSSP Co-Director Jeffrey Douglas.
“… HSSP is a product of the efforts of a group of individuals with deep ties to the animal welfare community and dedicated to improving the well-being of shelter animals across the country,” he added. “Who we hired as our PR firm should be immaterial to the project.”
As Pacelle sees it, though, Berman is its backbone: “Now, this Beltway con artist — who has probably spent as much time as anyone in recent years fighting against animal welfare — has formed a new supposed animal welfare charity … He’s the man behind the curtain … He’s reached a new level of fraud and deception.”
Pacelle said that between CCF and HSSP, Berman’s outfits have taken out 25 full page “attack” ads in national newspapers, at an estimated cost of $2 million.
Berman, meanwhile — whose full response to Pacelle’s comments can be found here — says HSSP has been welcomed “warmly” by the shelter community.
The question the HSSP ad raises is not entirely illegitimate: Are those heartstring-tugging HSUS ads, even with disclaimers, contributing to the misperception that the national organization helps foot the bill for all local shelters that call themself by that name?
But a question can also be asked of the HSSP: If you really care about animals, why not, instead of those full page ads, send that $2 million to animal shelters?
Posted by jwoestendiek December 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ads, advertisements, animal cruelty, animals, attack, campaigns, causes, center for consumer freedom, charities, chicago tribune, con man, diana culp, dogs, donate, donations, fight, formed, full page ads, fund raising, funding, hssp, hsus, humane society for shelter pets, humane society of the united states, industries, jeffrey douglas, lobbyist, local, local shelters, logo, los angeles times, misleading, misperceptions, money, national, new york times, newly, non profits, perceptions, pets, politics, polls, psas, public, public service announcements, richard berman, shelters, wayne pacelle
Breed: Pit bull
Encountered: In a parking lot in Cave Creek, Arizona, where her owner sells cowboy hats at a roadside stand.
Backstory: Everyday, Michael Chazan, of Phoenix, sets up his tables on a dusty parking lot and hawks hats from Guatemala. At first, he would bring his daughter’s dog with him — partly for company, partly because, he’s found, dogs can help bring in business.
When she moved away, he debated whether he should bring along his dog, Sarah, who he’s had since she was a pup. While amazingly and unwaveringly friendly, she is a pit bull, and while he knows she’s a sweetheart, some customers, he feared, might shy away.
He gave it a try anyway, and Sarah proved to be as good for business as she is at being a friend.
I had no choice but to go over and say hello. And now — though I’m not the cowboy hat type — I’m wearing a cowboy hat.
Michael says Sarah is good at luring in customers, and while he sometimes tells customers that his dog will eat them if they don’t buy the hat they tried on, one look at Sarah’s smiling face lets them know, if they didn’t already, that it’s a joke.
He, as is usually his way with assertive females, all but ignored her.
I, on the other hand was smitten – and not just because we both have big heads. It was her sweet disposition that hooked me, reeled me in and sealed the sale, with a big sloppy lick.
(To see all of our Roadside Encounters, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 16th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, animals, attracting, breeds, business, cowboy, customers, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, encounter, hats, misperceptions, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, road trip, roadside, roadside encounters, roadside stand, sales, salesman, sarah, stereotypes, travel, travels with ace, vendor
With the rescue of pit bulls and other abused and neglected pets having proven a popular reality TV show formula — with everything from burly tattooed guys to prison parolees doing the rescuing — you might be wondering what they’ll think of next.
Turns out they’ve already thought of it, and it’s little people.
“Pit Boss” premieres January 16, starring Shorty Rossi, who runs a Hollywood talent agency for little people and a pit bull rescue.
The show features Rossi and his fellow little people — including Maryland’s own Ashley Brooks — as they rescue and rehabilitate what the show’s press material points out is a frequently looked down upon breed.
Brooks, 23, who was raised in Elkton, Md., is the receptionist for Shortywood Productions, the company Rossi formed to ”manage little people entertainers for all types of shows, private parties and corporate events,” according to a network press release.
Its staff also forms the nucleus of Shorty’s Pit Bull Rescue, which was formed in 2001 and has worked since then to rehabilitate pit bulls — both individual dogs and the breed’s image.
“Pit bulls have a bad rap, though they don’t deserve it at all,” says Rossi. “It’s what people have done to these pits or how they have trained them that caused this horrible misperception. Pit bulls are beautiful and energetic dogs that make wonderful companions and have the ability to bring out the best in just about any one – the elderly, children, the handicapped, and yes… even the little people of this world.”
“Pit Boss” follows Rossi and his crew as they rescue, rehabilitate and find homes for dogs, all while working to fight stereotypes — both those faced by pit bulls and those faced by little people.
The show will air Saturdays at 10 p.m on Animal Planet.
Rossi, 35, grew up in Los Angeles, and pit bulls have been part of his life since 14. He left home by the age of 15, and by 18 had been involved in a gang-related shooting and convicted of several felonies. He served 10 years in prison, and upon his release turned to entertainment jobs, landing his first role at Universal Studios Hollywood as “Alvin” for an Alvin and the Chipmunks stage show.
Since then, he has appeared in several commercials, dozens of TV shows and worked on several movies. He started his own company in 2000, and formed Shorty’s Pit Bull Rescue the following year.
Here’s a trailer for the show:
(Photo: Courtesy of Animal Planet)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 1st, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal planet, ashley brooks, dogs, image, little people, misperceptions, perceptions, pit boss, pit bulls, pitbulls, rehabilitate, reputation, rescue, shorty rossi, shorty's pit bull rescue, shortywood, stereotypes, television, trailer, tv, video